May 27, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario — The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, recognized today the importance of sport and play in improving the education, health and life skills of disadvantaged young people, and highlighted Canada's commitment to securing the future of children and youth around the globe.
"Organizations like Right To Play have harnessed the power of sport to drive social change and shape our world for good," said Minister Fantino. "Sport and play are powerful means to educate and help ensure secure environments for children and youth, and help equip them with the skills they need to be active participants in society."
"Vulnerable children and youth in developing countries deserve a life free of violence and fear," said Minister MacKay. "Canada supports Right To Play's innovative use of sport and play, in helping to move disadvantaged young people toward an environment of empowerment and peace, through which they can help contribute to building prosperous, free, and democratic societies."
Canada and Right To Play have a longstanding partnership, and are currently working together to improve the lives of children and youth in disadvantaged communities in Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Rwanda. Through the Play to Learn program, more than 180,000 children and youth participate in regular weekly sport and play activities. They are also learning important life skills such as leadership, self-confidence, discipline, tolerance, teamwork, and disease prevention. This program has also trained more than 3,000 coaches and teachers to facilitate sport and play programs in local schools and community-based organizations, and has implemented more than 120 youth-led initiatives to address important community issues such as child labour and corporal punishment.
"Right To Play has achieved significant development outcomes as a direct result of the Government of Canada's investment in our work," said Johann Olav Koss, Founder, President and CEO of Right To Play. "We'd like to thank the Canadian government for its leadership in the field of sport for development and its confidence in Right To Play's ability to positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable children and youth."
Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to international development investments such as improving the health and education of children and youth in developing countries. The new department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and help achieve greater efficiency, accountability, and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.
— 30 —
For more information, media should contact:
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Press Secretary to the Minister of National Defence